Lost City of Gold

Quivira and Cíbola are two of the fantastic Seven Cities of Gold existing only in a myth that originated around the year 1150 when the Moors conquered Mérida, Spain. According to the legend, seven bishops fled the city, not only to save their own lives but also to prevent the Muslims from obtaining sacred religious relics. Years later, a rumor circulated that in a far away land—a place unknown to the people of that time—the seven bishops had founded the cities of Cíbola and Quivira.

The legend says that these cities grew very rich, mainly from gold and precious stones. This idea fueled many expeditions in search of the mythical cities during the following centuries.

Eventually, the legend behind these cities grew to such an extent that no one spoke solely of Quivira and Cíbola, but instead of seven magnificent cities made of gold, one for each of the seven bishops who had left Mérida.

In a way, the myth survived until the time that the English explorers were in the New England. It was fed by the castaways of Pánfilo de Narváez's unsuccessful expedition to Florida in 1528, who, upon returning to New Spain, said that they had heard from the mouths of the Native Americans stories of cities with great riches. Only four men had survived that expedition. One was Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca who wrote Naufragios (Shipwrecks) in which he described his adventure on foot from the coast of Florida to the coast of Sinaloa in Mexico. One of the other three survivors was a Moor named Esteban, or Estevanico.


The myth of the seven cities of gold drew the Conquistadors northward through the Jornada del Muerto, the Llano Estacado (Staked Plains), in which they encountered a "Sea of Grass", and finally, the French colonists, who successfully resisted their further northward advance.



Written By Tripzibit on May 15, 2008 | 17:29

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